The March Madness Tournament lived up to its billing as one of the great ASL events. I had an amazing time and met a lot of new faces. I particularly enjoyed meeting so many of the St. Louis ASL Club Players. (lived in St. Louis for 20 years.) So enjoyed talking a bit about Gateway Town.
Before I forget, a huge thank you to all the members of the Kansas City ASL Club. You put on a great event and one that I will remember for a long time to come. The venue was also outstanding with great space, restrooms, lots of places to stay and eat near by. So it was a really a great location overall.
The structured play of the tournament was new to me and I think it worked out really well. I certainly would not have played a PTO Scenario had it not been the Round 4 play requirement. And I'm glad I did. The PTO scenario that was my final game of the tournament was one of the most enjoyable games I've played.
So before I give a few brief AAR descriptions, let me thank my worthy opponents: Robert Zinselmeyer, Rick Salisbury and Steve Landreth. It was great fun playing against each of you.
Selfie while waiting in the lobby as my opponent set up his defense on Saturday.
ROUND 1 - Scenario AP 96 - FOOD FIGHT (opponent Robert Zinselmeyer)
Robert drew the Russian Partisans and I was the Ukrainian Partisans. The victory conditions were pretty tough. The Russian Player had to amass 14 more VP than the Ukrainian player. One of the unique aspects of this scenario is that the Russian Player can scrounge building for food packets, which if found would be worth 1 VP. So each building captured by the Russians could yield up to 2 VP.
Robert's Russians made a great initial assault that pushed me back until Turn 3, when my reinforcements made their weight felt. The black line denotes the battle line that would remain pretty much intact for the remainder of the scenario. My Ukrainians managed to hold off the Russians for the win.
Some of the highlights of our game: One roll resulted in dual sniper activation, which then resulted in battle hardening. Kind of an interesting game moment! I also managed to break my Machine guns early and often. The hero of the game, was the Russian Commissar who kept the Russian Partisans rallied and in the fight!
11 VP for Buildings
4 VP for Food Packets
5 VP for CVP
Total 20 VP
8 VP for CVP
Total 8 VP, leaving the Russian Player with only 12 more than the Ukrainians, instead of the 14 required.
ROUND 2 - Scenario A59 - Death at Carentan (opponent Rick Salisbury)
As one might imagine, after driving 4 hours Friday morning and playing a hard fought game against Robert Zinselmeyer, I was a bit on the shaggy side as we started Round 2 around 6 PM. Rick Salisbury drew the US forces and I the Germans. Essentially, I had to defend the cluster of buildings in the center of Board 17. The Single Hex buildings were worth 1 point and the 2 Hex building was worth 3 points. To win the game, the US player needed 5 points total at the end of the scenario.
Enough said...the US 7-4-7's are just total bad asses. My German 5-4-8's along with a Hero, managed to stall the Americans until about Turn 3. And then the I made a really bad tactical decision. The German reinforcements could enter on either board edge. So I decided to split my force and get cute with an attempt to get behind Rick's 7-4-7's. It sounded good in my head...but Rick's Artillery smashed the snot out of my 5-4-8 as they crept through the woods. (Rick was battling a cold and had these menthol infused tissues. Suffice to say that I needed a few whiffs of one to recover my bearings after the severe concussing of his artillery.)
Rick's 7-4-7's ended up being too much for me and with my tactical failure to put my troops on the objectives, I just didn't have the forces to keep the Americans back. So Rick took the needed VP's by Turn 7. And feeling exhausted, I gave the concession, knowing that my forces were too depleted to take the buildings back, especially with 7-4-7's inside them.
This scenario ended up being a hoot to play. Rick and I created 3 Heroes and 4 Fanatic squads in the course of the game. It was an intense fight from start to finish.
ROUND 3 - Scenario J59 - Friday the 13th (opponent Rick Salisbury)
My Germans were Hermann Goering Division 5-4-8's and had three JagdPanzer IV's. Facing them were Russian 4-4-7's with a 50 Caliber HMG and a 57LL AT Gun. Those two assets would ground down my attack very effectively. The 50 Cal shredded my advancing infantry and the 57LL AT managed to turn one of the JagdPanzers into a burning wreck. My other two ended up having no HE and no Smoke...and with a 1 factor MG were NO USE to me...
I parked my JagdPanzers and popped away with AP and 1 factor MG shots. (and no, I didn't forget about VBM freeze...just didn't want to use it.)
A look at the primary attack approach I utilized. Rick's defense proved to be too much for me, but I did manage to secure 3 buildings by game end and was on the verge of securing the main building after finally taking control of the 50 Cal. It was a sweet moment getting control of the 50 Cal., but that would be the extent of my success. Rick's boys took the victory.
So going into Round 4, I was 1 win and 2 losses. And next up was PTO....which I never play...so I was figuring on ending up the night at 1 and 3. But ASL is unpredictable...
ROUND 4 - Scenario AP99 - Barefoot Beating (opponent Steve Landreth)
Steve was my final opponent of the tournament and a very capable player. In fact, Robert, Rick and Steve were all first rate players in my estimation.
Steve drew the Japanese and had the task of defending a cluster of buildings lining the road on Board 70. My Chinese would enter along one board edge and then reserves would come in behind the Japanese on Turn 2 (I completely forgot to set them up and so my reserves didn't enter the game until Turn 3, which could really have been a catastrophe.)
Steve's Japanese proved to be tough hombres throughout the scenario. Steve had nerves of steel and kept concealment for as long as possible. He did this so well, that I was never sure of which stacks were dummies.
But Steve's dice rolls were off from the start. His first MC was a 12 and he would experience 11's, 12's, and 10's, at critical moments throughout our game. My Chinese ended up being the beneficiaries of Steve's less than stellar rolls. I was able to advance up the board and my reinforcements were able to come in from behind and take some of the building locations.
Steve created a defense in depth and utilized spotting very successfully for his mortar. The terrain restricted the effectiveness of his MG's. Steve also successfully fell back to defend the village once it was apparent the Chinese were going to make a strong push into the village.
Barefoot Beating would conclude in epic fashion. My Chinese managed to position themselves to go into 4 consecutive Victory Locations Close Combats in Hand to Hand with Steve's Japanese. I couldn't lose any of the 4 or Steve would have the victory. And in an absolute miracle, my Chinese won all four CC's and the game. In over 30 years of playing SL and ASL, I have never experienced anything like this. And it was also the first time I can remember eliminating every squad in my opponent's OB. Steve's Japanese died fighting to the bitter end.
All in a great game and a great way to end the tournament. I have to admit, I replayed the final turns in my head all the way home on the drive back to Tulsa. That's when you know the games were great.
My first time playing the Chinese ended up being an epic game!
So that's a wrap on March Madness 2015. A great time...enough said.